It’s been an annual question since the Pac-12 Networks launched in 2012 and the answer has always been no. Back in 2015, there was brief hope with an actual signal test which some sharp-eyed DirecTV viewers saw, but it never got farther than that. Talks between the Pac-12 and DirecTV collapsed following that signal test and since then, the two sides appear no closer to an agreement than when the networks began.
And as the 2016-17 NCAA season has concluded, outgoing Pac-12 Networks president Lydia Murphy-Stephans who admitted in an exit interview that revenues from the channels lag far behind the Big Ten and SEC, ends her tenure without an agreement with DirecTV.
She told Cablefax rather tersely that DirecTV was given the same opportunity as other pay TV providers to pick up the channels:
“Pac-12 Networks has offered DirecTV the same distribution deal it has offered Comcast, Cox, Charter and others. Why DirecTV hasn’t specifically picked up Pac-12 is a question for DirecTV.”
But it’s been the same-old, same-old as to why DirecTV won’t pick up Pac-12 Networks. The satellite provider says the cost is too high and it doesn’t want to extend the bandwidth for the networks’ various regional channels. The Pac-12 says DirecTV is being unreasonable.
And with another college sports season approaching, there doesn’t seem to be any hope for Pac-12 fans that DirecTV will pick up the channel for 2017-18. And just like DirecTV’s long dispute with Spectrum SportsNet LA, there hasn’t been a mass migration for the company to justify picking up Pac-12 Networks.
Unless there’s a last-second breakthrough, this dispute will go into its sixth season and viewers will again be left in the middle.